A casual glance at the former Hillsboro Kmart building on North High Street, purchased more than a year ago by Rural King, gave the impression that the farm store chain might be accelerating their plans to re-open the shuttered building.
Over the weekend, workers could be seen seal coating the parking lot while the building itself is sporting a new facade and paint job, with workers resurfacing the interior floors Monday afternoon.
Mandy Mundhenk, Rural Kings social media coordinator, told The Times-Gazette that plans haven’t “been totally finalized for the location yet, so we can’t release any new information.”
Blake Pierce, director of real estate and procurement at Rural King, previously said that the store chain often acquires properties a few years before anything is done with them, adding that when Rural King moves in, the store will not occupy the entire floor plan.
The former Kmart building has more thanr 100,000 square feet, he said, and Rural King will work with a broker to identify “an additional tenant or two” to share the space.
He indicated that in the past, Rural King has purchased Kmart and Sears buildings after the stores have gone out of business.
The building sits on 17.5 acres of land and was vacated when the local Kmart went out of business in January 2018, with the Hillsboro location being one of 45 Kmarts that were closed at that time.
Rural King later purchased the property for $3.5 million in a deal that was finalized later that August.
A press release issued by Rural King following the acquisition said, “while the future of this new building is still being decided, Rural King is optimistic about their new addition and very excited to be part of the community in Hillsboro.”
Since Kmart’s departure, the building has sat empty with old newspapers taped to the inside of its glass windows and doors, and the parking lot often occupied by utility trucks, semis and storage bins.
Construction personnel working on the renovation of Highland District Hospital, located across Fenner Lane from the Rural King site, sometimes park their vehicles there.
In a news release, Rural King said it began in 1960 as a small, family-owned farm store in Mattoon, Ill., and is now one of the fastest growing family-owned companies in the United States with more than 110 stores in a 13-state region.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.